Feudal system in simple terms can be defined as the granting of land to different groups of society by the group placed just above them in the hierarchy. Feudal hierarchy England came into continuation by William I in the year 1066. William I defeated the England army same year. So to gain thorough control over the England, he practiced the feudal system in England.
This feudal system made a gigantic impact on the history of England. England’s feudalism was based on the division of people on the basis of power and authority they held. This was done by the method of granting of land to the people but in exchange of their several services. Life under British feudalism demanded an owed acquiescence to the king along with the immediate royal superiors. The feudal hierarchy England is described below in a downhill order model.
- The King – The ultimate power & authority holder was the King and no one was allowed to be disloyal to the king. He possessed his rights over all the land of the empire.
- The Dukes – This was a rare title provided. Normally the very close relatives of the king, usually the wife of the king was provided this royal title.
- The Earls / Counts – They were also close known or relatives of the king.
- The Marquess – These were the guardians of the Marches or the frontiers.
- The Barons – These were the protector of the Manors and were owners of some castles too.
- The Knights – These knights were normally refereed as sub tenants in chief. Each knight was offered a big section of the kingdom’s land to govern. This was done only after taking a royal oath to the king to serve him their lifetime devotion & faithfulness.
- The Squires – These were the group of people who were apprentices and assistants to the knights.
- The Lord – This group incorporated some “Superior” people of the kingdom. The title further got transferred as the Vassal, associates of the Parliament.
- The Younger Sons – The lands were inherited by the elder sons. They were to find their own living and normally most of them take over the titles of knights by joining army. Some joined churches while some set as mercenaries.
- The Common Men – The next one in the feudal hierarchy England were the English common men. These were free people who made majority of the England.
- The Villeins / Serfs – These were the people who were listed in the records of the Manor. They used to work for the landlords in return of wages.
- The Slaves – The lowest category of the feudal hierarchy England is of slaves. These were people who were owned by their high class people. These were servants for their owners without any right.